Mephisto 3298 – To suck eggs, presumably

I did not find this too bad, but I was tired last Saturday and put it aside half-done to go to bed.   The next morning, I finished fairly easily, but I was a bit concerned about one biff that I couldn’t justify.   I thought my last two in must be encased and colon, the only two common English words that were anywhere close to the clues, but further research could not justify them.   If there is one thing I have learned from doing Mephisto, each answer can be justified somewhere in Chambers, so if you can’t justify an answer, it must be wrong.   Looking up some other likely words, I hit upon enfaced meaning stamped on document, a perfect fit, and so I was able to finish correctly, and further research confirmed that it was indeed enfaced/felon.

I hope everyone got on well – as soon as I finish the blog, I’m off to the next Mephisto, which I have just printed off.



1 Old women — grey and back together among poetry lovers (8)
GRANDMAS – GR + AND + SAM.   Yes, sam can mean together, and was so used by Spenser.   It has dropped out of English, but words from the same root can still be found in other Germanic languages.
7 Admirable senior officer in short order accepted nothing (4)
10 Irrational fear of happy boor I unsettled (10)
PYROPHOBIA – Anagram of HAPPY BOOR I.    Fear of fire is not that irrational, IMO.
11 Depression is behind Oddfellow regressing (5)
FOSSA – ASS + O.F. backwards – what is this, an American Mephisto?
12 Approach, as before, article with attention (5)
14 Worry about upsetting guy’s trading area (8, two words)
FREE PORT -FRE(ROPE backwards)T.
17 Witty reply is somewhat indecent about nearly all being topless (7)
RIPOSTE – RIP([m]OST)E.    Yes, somewhat indecent is one of the meanings given of ripe.
18 Having no blade? Therefore back retaining early payment (7)
OARLESS –  O(ARLES)S, i.e. SO backwards.   Arles is an early payment in the sense of being an archaic word for a payment.
20 Fourth estate stuff (5)
PRESS – Double definition.
21 Commonwealth-era brigand to free old monarch (5)
RIDER – RID + E.R.   Well, not that old, gone but not forgotten by solvers.
22 Clinic finally probing new ethics for those who suffered with TB (7)
HECTICS – Anagram of ETHICS around [clini]C.   Another archaic usage.
23 Stamped on document, “force unit into region” (7)
ENFACED – EN(F, ACE)D.   For end, think of a football field or such.
27 What’s essential for porcelain to hold a good drink? (8)
29 Answer lecturer in reverse of tender quip that’s off the cuff (5)
ADLIB – A + D(L)IB, where the enclosing letters are BID reversed.
30 Critically examine a hull (5)
31 Phantom payment by pharmacy expressing eccentricity (10, two words)
SCOTCH MIST – SCOT + CH[e]MIST.    E is a valid abbreviation for eccentricity.
32 Temper it with female article in Le Monde? (4)
TUNE – ‘T + UNE.
33 As before overshadow Earl replacing one grand in the flicks? (8)
1 Bet is fair bunkum (4)
GAFF – Triple definition – you could look it up.
2 Supply ordered again — missing silver’s arranged once more (10)
3 Rising tide covering special areas of basilicas (5)
APSES – SE(SP)A, all backwards.
4 Merchant‘s department on the point of cut and thrust? (7)
5 Upcoming opportunity to grab time for career (5)
MOTOR –  RO(T)OM upside-down.
6 Inform of apparent source (7)
APPRISE – APP + RISE.   App is a valid abbreviation for apparent.
7 Lag with manners agrees (8)
CONSORTS – CON + SORTS.  The use of manner to mean sort or type is archaic – “He nevere yet no villeynye ne said, In all his lyf, unto no manner wight…”
8 Submits ordinary term for addressing many Turks (5)
OBEYS – O BEYS!   I would imagine the beys would not be too happy about this.
9 Bounty is before the wind, heading 157 degrees or so (8)
LARGESSE – LARGE + SSE, which is 157 degrees on the compass.   Large  can mean a favoring wind.
13 Screen tart performing here? (10, two words)
ARTS CENTRE – Anagram of SCREEN TART, an &lit.
15 Pole in favour of last of these nuts (8)
FOREMAST – FOR + [thes]E + MAST, which is acorns fed to pigs.
16 Scots rail at hiding each British slight inconvenience (8)
19 Cover female put on adult article (7)
20 Eg, Welsh plod put up evidence to detain licentiate (7)
P-CELTIC – PC + CIT(L)E upside down.   Brythonic  as opposed to Goidelic.
24 Cruel ulcer (5)
FELON -Double definition, using too very obscure meanings.
25 Work at old manuscript’s sentences (5)
DOOMS – DO + O + MS.
26 Some titbit as temptation? (5)
TASTE –  Hidden in [titbi]T AS TE[mptation].   A bit of an &lit.
28 Profit further losing leader (4)

8 comments on “Mephisto 3298 – To suck eggs, presumably”

  1. I mentioned earlier that I had finished this, but was forgetting that I hadn’t checked what I had guessed for GAFF (i.e., GUFF) or looked back at the online puzzle, as I probably would have done with one on paper.
    Didn’t know the senses here of “sam” and “Arles.” And then, I still don’t have Chambers! But ENCASE and the archaic and the obscure senses of FELON are in Merriam-Webster and Collins.

  2. One mistake this time: TONE instead of TUNE. The parsing is obvious – why didn’t I see it at the time? I had a couple of question marks and that was one; the other was SAM, which I correctly biffed in GRANDMAS.

    Note to self not to submit the completed grid at the beginning of the week, but to allow a little more mental fermentation to take place.

    E for eccentricity should be know to anyone who did A-level maths as the ratio of the major axis to the minor axis of an ellipse. The circle is a special case where e=1.

  3. I’ve recently started doing the Mephisto on a Sunday and find I greatly enjoy it when I have the time for it. I completed this one all correct, but only after several referrals to my trusty on-line Chambers. First time I have read the blog for the puzzle, so many thanks.

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